Residents celebrate Youngsville Sports Complex grand opening

A celebratory mood prevailed at the grand opening of the Youngsville Sports Complex Saturday as more than 250 gleeful Youngsville residents watched Mayor Wilson Viator throw out the ceremonial first pitch at a facility ball field.

“This doesn’t get done by one person; it gets done by a whole community,” Viator said. “This is a very proud day for the city of Youngsville.”

Youngsville Parks and Recreation Department Director Tim Robichaux said baseball fields were opened for games two weeks ago in a soft opening of the new complex. He said they wanted to get a good idea of how a tournament would run at the facility before officially having the grand opening.

“We had two good-sized tournaments to see how things would flow,” Robichaux said. “This is really the culmination of everyone’s hard work.”

The 70-acre, $15.4 million complex includes five baseball fields and four fast-pitch softball fields, 10 tennis courts, six soccer fields, a fishing pond and a variety of amenities for visitors.

Youngsville voters in 2011 approved a 1-cent sales tax to pay for the park. The tax generates up to $2 million a year.

Robichaux thanked the more than 25 sponsors who helped make the complex possible through sponsorships and donations.

Each sponsor received a commemorative plaque.

Viator acknowledged city engineer Dax Douet, contractor Larkie Broussard and Prescott Bailey, of Young Industries, for playing a big part in the complex’s completion and presented each with a key to the city.

“Larkie lived and ate this place for the last 18 months,” Viator said. “He was the one that made sure everything got done. Dax did a phenomenal job putting together the plans and getting the right people in place. Young Industries has always been so generous to the city.”

Douet, a Youngsville resident, said receiving a key to the city meant a lot to him.

“There’s not many of those given out,” Douet said. “I’m not sure what it opens, but it means a lot to me, especially being a resident. We have invested a lot of time and sacrifice from family, but it was all worth it and I am very grateful.”

Robichaux said he has received all positive reactions to the sports complex since its opening. He said the park was built to suit the community’s needs, even as it serves as a venue for other teams from outside Youngsville to play in tournaments.

“I think everybody that has come in is just in awe of the facility,” Robichaux said. “It’s first class. It’s well thought out, and the observation deck is a great place to watch all the games and get out of the heat.”

Viator and Douet commended Robichaux for his efforts in getting the field ready to play. Douet said Robichaux is the perfect person to maintain the fields.

“There will never be a perfect project,” Douet said. “I’m sure if you look well enough, you’ll see some things wrong here. But as a resident of Youngsville, today is a day for myself and so many others who have worked so hard. We can sit back and say, ‘job well done.’ ”